Instability on our doorstep? A conference on the Balkans
International conference on the changing geo-politics of the Balkans on 7th June in Budapest.
Instability on our doorstep? The changing geo-politics of the Balkans
Winston Churchill remarked that the Balkans displayed a distinct tendency to produce more history than could be consumed locally. But following the collapse of communism and the end to the wars in Bosnia and Kosovo, it seemed possible to hope that the Balkans would enjoy a period of stability, and that the countries of the region could make progress in establishing themselves as secure and independent democratic states. All of them expressed the ambition to join NATO and the EU; Croatia, along with Albania joined the former in 2009, Croatia the European Union in 2013; and Serbia, Montenegro and Macedonia have been confirmed as candidate EU members. Montenegro is expected to join NATO in the coming months.
The Balkans form a highly sensitive, coherent geo-strategic unity. The need to secure access to the region and to influence events there explains the centuries-old temptation for outside powers to interfere in Balkan affairs.
It is now evident that the new tensions are emerging partly as the result of pressures being applied by external powers. It would appear that the aim of Russian policy is to frustrate the desire of those living in the region to join the West: it challenges the post-Cold War settlement as it attempts to destabilize the region by means of propaganda, dezinformatsia, and support for anti-democratic forces. Large amounts of money have poured in from Saudi Arabia, Persian Gulf states and missionaries of Wahhabi Islam, targeting young populations mired in poverty, unemployment and corruption.
Leading analysts discussed these developments and their implications for Europe and the West at the Danube Institute's conference on Tuesday 7th June 2016. 1
09:00 - 09:30 Registration
09.30 - 09.45 Why the Balkans matter: introductory remarks - John O’Sullivan
09:45 -10:05 Intervention, propaganda and manipulation; Russian policy towards the near abroad - Oana Serafim
10:05 - 10:20 Q&A
10:20 - 10:40 The case of Serbia - Boško Jakšic
10:40 - 11:00 Q&A
11:00 - 11:20 Coffee
11:20 - 11:40 The case of Croatia - Gordana Knezevic
11:40 - 12:00 Q&A
12:00 - 12:20 Saudi interests and influences - Miklós Maróth
12:20 - 12:40 Q&A
12:40 - 13:00 Panel discussion
Venue: 27. Benczúr u. (Benczúr Ház), 1068 Budapest
Date: 09:30 – 13:00, Tuesday 7th June 2016
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